An innovative new journal has launched at Cardiff University, targeted at medical students and already with contributors from as far afield as the USA and the Caribbean. The Student Doctor, a peer-reviewed, open-access, biannual journal, was thought up last year by final-year Medicine students Shivali Fulchand and James Kilgour, and officially launched at their opening evening on Tuesday 31st January.
Shivali and James were inspired to start The SDJ after realising the challenges medical students can encounter in getting work published. A 2011 study by Griffin and Hindocha found that only 14% of medical students had published literature, although the amount of interest reached 90%. Shivali and James decided to take matters into their own hands and The SDJ aims to not only build a clearer foundation for this, but nurture a more in-depth interest in academic research and publishing, spanning from creative writing to a more factual approach. Sections include Original Research; Discussion, Education, Reflections and Correspondence, giving primarily healthcare students the chance to express thoughts on many areas of medicine.
2016 was a busy year for the journal’s development. After first conjuring up the idea in March, they gained funding from Cardiff University School of Medicine, before The SDJ became an imprint of Cardiff University Press two months later.
While the next few months were dedicated to expanding the team, from a Faculty Advisory Board to sub-editors and social media gurus, submissions opened last October, with the launch party on the same day as the release of the first issue.
The event, hosted at the Hadyn Ellis Building, included an introduction by Shivali and James, as well as talks from four professors each renowned in their field – John Bligh; Elizabeth Treasure; Michael Owen and Sir Martin Evans.
Professor Bligh, Dean of Medicine, discussed his background as editor of Medical Education, while Professor Treasure, Cardiff University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, spoke about how her approach to education has changed over the course of her own studies and career.
Professor Owen, Professor of Psychological Medicine, imparted wisdom, having dedicated his research to genetics and psychiatry, particularly schizophrenia, while Cardiff University’s Chancellor Sir Evans’ conclusion of the evening provided everyone with a generous amount of inspiration, especially as he reflected on receiving the renowned Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2007, for his discoveries in embryonic stem cells. The overriding message was one of aspiration, something all students can get behind.
Such a high calibre of speakers was fitting for this exciting new project. The presentation ended with Stephen R. Covey’s quote ‘Strength lies in differences, not similarities’, and this was suitably demonstrated by The SDJ team’s video showcasing the benefits of their diversity.
Co-editor Shivali summarised the evening with, ‘Our vision is to create a platform for sharing the critical thought and creative flair of medical students, packaged in a simple, modern and accessible way. We are proud to have released our first issue and look forward to starting work on the second. In the future, we hope to create a series of YouTube videos on the publishing process.’
– Eleanor Philpotts